Iron ore cargoes rise as Seaway traffic holds steady

(OTTAWA, Ontario) — Overall activity established by U.S. Great Lakes-Seaway shipping through the first month of the shipping season continued into May, with iron ore showing especially strong numbers. Iron ore traffic through the system was almost 1.6 million tonnes, an increase of 9.9 percent from the same period last year.

Approximately 7.97 million tonnes of total cargo traffic have now transited the Seaway system for the year to date, which is down slightly but consistent with the 8.2 million tonnes of cargo recorded for the same period in 2022. It should be noted that there has been significant variation in traffic across commodities and across ports, with some ports like Cleveland being especially busy.

Port of Cleveland photo

“The Port of Cleveland has had an outstanding start to the year at our bulk terminal due to strong demand for iron ore from the Cleveland Cliffs steel mill,” said David Gutheil, chief commercial officer for the Port of Cleveland. “This again justifies the significant recent investment in the extension of our ore tunnel, which has allowed us to mix ore on demand for delivery to the mill and increased the efficiency of our operation.”

“At our general cargo terminal, we completed a two-year project in May, which rebuilt and modernized three of our most used docks and berths,” he added. “Also included in the project was the introduction of a below-ground system to filter and clean stormwater before it is introduced back into Lake Erie. We are now also in the design and planning phase of our next large project at the same terminal. This project will modernize our largest warehouse and introduce systems that will set up this warehouse as the electric hub of our port for the eventual transition from diesel to electric cargo handling equipment.”

“While the ebb and flow of economic fluctuations change the backdrop for trade over time, the constant is that Great Lakes/St. Lawrence shipping is always there to meet the needs of businesses and consumers,” said Bruce Burrows, president and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “The enhancements at the Port of Cleveland are exemplary of the efforts of all chamber members to maintain a strong supply chain, and keep marine shipping foremost among all modes of cargo transit when it comes to capacity, reliability, efficiency, and sustainability.”

– Chamber of Marine Commerce

By Rich Miller